Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rocking Chair Leadership

"I'm on it!"

"We're moving fast on this one!"

"The team is all over it!"

"Everyone is so busy working on this!"

I.
Don't.
Believe.
You.

Activity Does Not Equal Progress
How many leaders have you heard describing how 'busy' they are; or, their teams are? How many times did you hear those same updates week after week with no real progress to show for it?

That drives me crazy...

...particularly when I do it. 

Lots of Hustle (sort of)
Back when I coached youth hockey we had a player on the team who always looked like he was skating hard and trying to make an impact. He was really busy out there! 

However, he rarely made actual contact with an opposing player, never ventured into the corners, or God forbid, stood in front of the net to endure a cross-check or two.

I meet a lot of leaders like that player.

Their calendars are jam-packed. Their list of meetings is endless. Their Inbox is always full.

But nothing gets done. Ever.

How About You
Who on your team is that little hustling skater who never makes any big plays? 

They probably believe rocking back and forth all day in a rocking chair actually gets you somewhere!

Oh, and, why do we seem to continue to allow that lame leadership style to continue?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.
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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Rockstars Want to Work for Rockstars, So Build Your Personal Brand

Recently I had an opportunity to be a guest on Jeff Hyman's terrific podcast - Strong Suit! Jeff and I roared through the show so quickly I couldn't believe it ended so fast.

Here's the kickoff to the show...click the link below and give it a listen!

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STRONG SUIT - we only recruit rockstars

If you hope to have even a prayer of recruiting Rockstars, you'd better be one yourself. 

Because they simply won't consider working for someone they can't learn from, grow from, and one day replace (you, when you're promoted!)

So to do that, you need to communicate to candidates that they'll be working for a top performer...




...and as always...

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Failure Is Not A Competency

Proclaiming one's failures seems to be a trendy thing to do these last few years. It's an odd thing though, at least it is to me.

I get the whole "learn from your mistakes" angle...but, really...relishing in one's failures?

Lower the Bar
I'll be honest here. I don't want to fail. In fact, I get upset with myself when I stumble, let alone fail. I'm sure you do too.

Maybe, we have embraced failure as way to limit expectations of ourselves and our colleagues?

Maybe we have socialized failure so heavily, it is now more important to "own it" when we fail vs. being held accountable?

Maybe we need to stop making excuses about weakness, incompetence, and yes, failure?

How does that sound?

Harsh or Honest?
If you've written off today's post as a rant, think again.

How is failure treated in your organization? Do those leaders who struggle continue to stay in their roles, all while your senior leadership team preaches accountability and upholding corporate values?

You can't have it both ways.

Maybe what's happened to the corporate world is that we're all so fearful of employment litigation, that we've made it okay to hide behind excuses to be weak and indecisive? We see it a lot...so...it must be true.

Right?

How About You
How are you addressing failure and driving accountability into your organization? Is it working? What has made your approach successful?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#MeToo Is About Everyone

Anger is rampant. Accusations are rampant. Accountability is rampant. Men are running for cover, and women feel more empowered than ever before. 

It's embarrassing that in a country with as much potential as the United States, it's taken this long for these voices to be heard. It's also embarrassing that men continue to behave this way.

When we consider the racial and religious divide that has been reignited and supported over the last two years, it's a miracle that anyone dares speak out.

What Is Happening?
Has something fundamentally changed? Have centuries of abuse, harassment and a male dominated society finally started to crumble? Has the pendulum swung so far and so fast that no one is entirely sure what the 'new normal' looks like?

I don't have the answer.

But I do know one thing...


"We are not supposed to be afraid of each other."


I've heard that men are afraid to mentor women? 

What?

I've heard that men are not sure how to behave around women? 

What?

I've heard that women and men are being so cautious, that it is impacting how and when work actually gets done.

WHAT?!


The Missing Piece
Where is the leadership? Why isn't someone offering a balanced point of view? Why isn't someone demanding civil discourse on these complicated issues? Why are men running scared, when they should be standing up and making their voices heard in support of their colleagues, friends and family?

Where are the powerful male voices supporting #MeToo?

Mainstream media doesn't provide any leadership from the left or the right.

Political leaders who have the most influence are clearly falling short.

Many companies espouse "equality" and "value their employees" but I see precious little in writing, and even less 'action' from their leaders, taking a stand.

Who, then, is going to lead the way? Here's the answer...you and I are going to do it. 

We are going to have the difficult conversations. We are going to write in a calm, thought-provoking way to ensure opinions and ideas are heard. 

We are going to listen to each other. 

We are going to be role models for our children, our employees, and our leaders.

You and I are going to lead the way.

How About You
How do you feel about our world? Does your company's leadership team openly discuss these challenging issues? Is there a candid conversation occurring in your organization that sets an example for us all? What about you...how are you leading the way?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Standing In the Middle of a Time of Worry

Long title, I know. It's a line from a song that is pretty cool. But it speaks to something so pervasive in the workplace (and outside the workplace too.)

The weight of...everything.

So much to accomplish. 
So many projects. 
So many needs for the right talent doing the right things at the right time.

...and so much extra anxiety because we're always in CYA mode.

Friends, this is simply exhausting.

A New Way
I think a lot about pressure. The pressure that executive leadership brings. The pressure to deliver results for the companies that hire us. The pressure to grow my company. Oh, and also to stay on top of every facet of my personal life as well.

No big deal, right?

If we're constantly thinking about being the best we can be, and trying to follow the arcane school of thought that we should just "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and handle everything alone" we're way off-base.

Life is not an individual journey.

So, what options do we have?



Finding Center
For me, it's been a long process. Finding my way back to a set of values and beliefs that provides a completely new sense of who am I, the power I have to make a difference, and the support that is all around me has been nothing short of profound.

It's been a return to my core values, if you will. A renewed sense of something larger than me, all around me, that fills me with peace and strength...confidence and optimism.

When you find that "center" in your life, it means that you...
- trust it
- value it
- believe in it
- have faith in it

...and thrive.

How About You
Have you lost your "center?" It's easy to do. With our frenetic pace, it's no wonder we lose sight of it from time to time. Perhaps today is good day to pause, reflect, and reconnect with what is most important?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Culture of Weakness

I've been blessed to serve in leadership roles for more than twenty years. When I started out, I looked up to, and sometimes laughed at, the 'older' leaders in my organization and how they behaved. (old at that time = 50 or older...which is now...me.)

I See You
I looked at them through two lenses. 

The first was as an admirer...they had years of success under their belt, and wisdom and insight to share with me. I was a sponge, and wanted to learn as much as I possibly could.

The second however, was not so kind. I often considered them out of touch with contemporary strategies, unable to keep up with the rapid pace of change, and their incredibly frustrating risk-averse approach to just about everything.

Has Anything Changed?
Tough question to answer, right? There are still amazing leaders out there who continue to push themselves, and their organizations forward. 

This is often done at significant risk to the bold leader!

There is also a seemingly endless supply of leaders who just aren't courageous enough to take a stand. Why is that still so prevalent? 

I was listening to Laurie Ruettimann's new podcast Let's Fix Work where she interviewed Jason Lauritsen about his views on the workplace... 


One of the most powerful moments in the show was when Jason said what most of us want to say...we just don't want to follow leaders who aren't worth following. 

Preach, brother!

The challenge then, is for us to not be viewed as weak and ineffective, focused only on protecting our status as executives. 

But rather, to be high impact leaders who connect with the entire team in meaningful ways, and have the courage to take risks, make bold decisions, and inspire those around us to stay with the organization and help it flourish.

How About You
What is the leadership culture in your organization? How are you reinforcing, or hopefully, disrupting that culture? What will it take for you to move one step forward towards a new reality?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry

The pace. 

My pace...the hectic, busy, sometimes chaotic whirlwind of life can be a bit much at times. Easy to complain about, right? And also, easy to be thankful for in a world with so much pressure. 

Something More
Amidst the noise, deadlines, expectations and overloaded calendars is something else waiting for us. However, we often don't notice this opportunity because we're always "in a hurry."

When we find ourselves asking if all of this craziness is worth it, I wonder if we also ask how we might offer ourselves in a different way? 

That's right. I'm talking about exploring new ways to contribute.


Stop and Listen
Before we can understand how we might contribute beyond our "busy day full of responsibilities" we must first stop. Simply stop for a few moments, and listen. 

What is your heart calling you to do? 

Who has been whispering in your ear about making a change and adding value in ways you had not previously considered?

How will you eliminate the "hurry" in your life, so you can focus on the most important things? New things? Life-changing things?

How About You
Investing a few moments...or a few hours...to just stop and listen could have a profound effect on you, and those around you. 

Do you have the courage to even give it a try; or, will you quickly glance at your To Do List and hurry along to the next task?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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